Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   lupper at Broadway Diner
Sunday, December 17 2023

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

As I often do (because of the way Neville crowds into my space in the bed), overnight I ended up relocating to the teevee room couch. This morning I heard Charlotte go blasting into the laboratory (which I usually latch so only cats can come and go from it overnight). Evidently she was chasing Diane, which is a way she has found to torment that cat for a bad incident between them soon after Charlotte moved in with us. I couldn't hear anything going on in there, so I went to check, and saw that Charlotte had pulled the blankets off the laboratory bean bag and proceeded to piss on it. She'd done it so freshly that some of the piss was still in little puddles. As I went to look, Charlotte backed up and then fell over into a pile of stuff (my laboratory is in a very messy phase). It was obvious that she knew she'd misbehaved. I yelled "no!" at her and then told Gretchen, who made her go outside to piss in the yard. Charlotte hadn't pissed or pooped anywhere bad in over a week, and I wondered if this backsliding was a way to punish me for forcing her into the car at the cabin yesterday afternoon.
It being Sunday morning, Gretchen and I could have our usual weekend ritual in the teevee room in front of a nice hot fire. I mostly breakfasted on slices of white sourdough bread with vegan butter, which I jokingly referred to as "health food" (since it wasn't cheap white bread).
At 11:00am, our neighbor Kaycee from across the street (she's our only friend who is something of a right-wing vegan) came over with her little dog (whose name I don't know; the dog she'd started with in the house across the street had died a few weeks ago of old age). Gretchen and Kaycee went on a big walk in the forest with our dogs and her little dog, and they all seemed to get along great. (Such a walk would've been impossible when we had Ramona, who famously hated all dogs not grandfathered before 2015.)

In the mid-afternoon, Gretchen and I drove to midtown Kingston to have an early lupper at the Broadway Diner, a restaurant we haven't been to together since the great northeast power outage of 2003. Gretchen had recently checked their menu and was delighted to see they now offer an Impossible Burger, so she wanted to check the place out after a more than 20 year hiatus. The place was cheerful and seemingly in a well-maintained state when we arrived. In keeping with the demographics of the neighborhood, most of the customers were African American, though all the waiters were white women. Unfortunately, we got stuck with a terrible waitress. Everything seemed to take way too long, including getting our initial order. And then when she figured out we were vegans, she tried to come across as God's gift to vegans, talking endlessly about all the lard we needed to watch out for. We didn't come there for a lecture about lard, and it detracted from experience. Fortunately, though, the burgers and fries were excellent. And even my coffee was pretty good, at least by the standards of diner coffee. Gretchen also ordered sides of spaghetti with marinara sauce and grape leaves (since the diner is, ultimately, a Greek one). The grape leaves weren't so great and the spaghetti was overcooked, but the sauce was nearly as good as the Hudson Valley's best marinara sauce, which is found at the Plaza Diner in New Paltz. Gretchen normally leaves at least a 20% tip, but our waitress was so bad that she only got 15%.
Our conversation over lupper was mainly about investing in various vegan businesses. Gretchen noted that, despite my job loss, we have enormous amount of money "just sitting around" not earning anything, and she thought it might be good to put as much as $10,000 into speculative investments. I am more risk averse than Gretchen, especially now that I am jobless, so I more or less rained on her parade, saying it didn't sound like there was much of an upside to such investments considering the good chance that we'd lose the whole thing.

After lupper, Gretchen wanted to check out a new community center on Henry Street (also sort of in Midtown, though not too far from our Wall Street rental). On the way, we drove down Fair Street and marveled at all the beautiful Victorian houses, nearly all of which have been completely restored. Kingston used to only have one street of beautiful houses (Albany Avenue just east of Broadway). But the real estate market has completely come back in Kingston, and people with real money have bought most of the nicer houses.
The community center we were going to see was itself a recently-restored Victorian at the northeast corner of Henry and Furnace Street. Supposedly there was to be some live jazz being performed there this afternoon, but when we arrived, the one the musicians was talking at great length about how young people need to be exposed to jazz as children or they don't grow up to appreciate it (as, for example, I didn't; neither of my parents liked or listened to jazz). The community center is a project mostly to serve the surrounding largely African-American community, and about half the people there to see the "music" were Black. Gretchen even knew one of the people there, who had been part of a prison education program that she is still a part of.
While the guy at the microphone nattered on about bringing young people to live music events, Gretchen and I explored the entire house. It had been lovingly restored from the basement all the way to the attic (where one had to walk carefully to avoid hitting one's head against the sharply-gabled and often-low ceilings). In keeping with its new purpose, the upstairs mostly consisted of a library and offices, and there was even an elevator, which had been hidden away inside a corner turret. The music never started up the whole time we were there, so after snooping around, we left a $10 donation in the jar and drove back home.

I spent most of the evening building out more features on the spec web app I am building for my old boss Alex. I had a little fun along the way building, for example, a generic JSON editor allowing me to add more keyed data to a schema without having to constantly alter it. This was at least the third generic JSON editor I've written over my career, but it was not particularly easy to get working.

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